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The symbolic significance of objects in Medea and A Dolls house

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The symbolic significance of objects in 'Medea' and 'A Doll's house' World Literature Word count: 1499 Candidate number: Euripides Greek tragedy 'Medea' and Ibsen's 'Pre-feminist play' 'A Doll's House' makes use of household objects in depicting the character relationships. In 'Medea', the objects allow the audience to explore the struggling marriage between the characters, Jason and Medea, as well as the impact of Jason's affair. Similarly, Ibsen uses objects to indicate Nora's depression caused by her unmerited marriage; ironically, the objectification of Nora by her husband and her victimization in society. Both writers allow readers the freedom to interpret the household objects subjectively which challenges the reader to question the extent to which the household objects relate to the theme of marriages. Initially, Ibsen places immense significance on different objects in the household, and stresses the directions for the setting of the stage. Ibsen makes use of a triad, "a room furnished comfortably and tastefully, but not expensively"1, the triad of adverbs shows that Nora and Torvald try to make the room look 'expensively' but actually they aren't rich. This sets a warm tone and mood through the significance of detail, but also allows the audience to build their personal perception. ...read more.


However, the extent to which Medea goes through with her bad reaction of a failed marriage, could give us an insight into even the Athenian's opinion of women- as replaceable and volatile objects. 3 "Medea" Euripides Pg 6 4 Ibid. Pg 18 5 ''Ibid. Pg 18 Similarly, Ibsen uses a central object on stage to represent the depression of women caused by their husbands. "The Christmas tree... in the corner by the piano, stripped of its ornaments and with burned-down candle ends on its disheveled branches" 6 this visual imaginary of the tree is described in detail and symbolizes Nora's sense to freedom and her psychological state. The green of the Christmas tree can be representing the envy within their marriage. Her ornaments, and the luxuries of life have been taken away by her marriage and Torvald and all that is left now is a "disheveled" woman, believing she may still have the opportunity to freedom. However, not only lack of freedom is portrayed by the Christmas tree, it also sets the mood for the rest of the play, the depressing atmosphere present, in contrast to the stereotypically cheerful atmosphere of the Christmas festival depicts the outer appearance of the marriage as being playful and pleasing, whilst the inside is a harsh contrast, filled with depression and sadness much like the "burned down candle ends". ...read more.


The 'flowers' are put in the materialistic tree; therefore emphasize the superficial atmosphere. Red can represent innate anger towards her husband as she is constantly being objectified. Nora evokes her husbands' shame ''now the lamp's been lit''13, which metaphorically foregrounds the truth being revealed with clarity instead of a fa´┐Żade. Whereas in 'Medea' "the glow of the golden robe''14 symbolizes the anger Nora is exhausted from, emphasized by the 'glow' and 'golden' alliteration and the assonance produced by the vowel sounds which Euripides uses to portray the long and tedious marital status reflected by the elongated vowels. Gold is a royal color which emphasizes the joy, wealth, greed and materialism within the relationship. Ultimately, the use of objects by Euripides and Ibsen conveys themes of freedom and justice. The bed is central in 'Medea' representing love, trust and betrayal. The relationship between Medea and Torvald suffers from the lack of loyalty, shown by the different interpretations the audience can place on the objects. Whereas in 'A Doll's House', where the Christmas tree has significance meanings in relation to the characters relationship as the tree symbolizes the state of marriage. Effectively objects don't only emphasize the difference between the female characters with their male counterparts, but mainly introduces the theme of liberation and social isolation of woman. ...read more.

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